We all know that a +1 Sword is boring. It should be something special. So I thought to myself, why can’t mundane items be special too? I know somebody probably smarter than me already thought of something like this. There were Masterwork Items in 3rd Edition but I want to take this a little bit further.
Think of this as more of cinematic approach to this idea. The Masterwork Items were just better at what they did. There were literally the mundane +1. Instead have the items give bonuses to other things. That pitch black armor; bonus to Hide In Shadows. The gnarly plate mail with demon head, intimidation. That sexy armor. Ahh, you can figure that one out. Even throw this idea at weapons. A razor sharp dagger? Bonus to surgery or cut purse. A cloak that offers better camouflage.
Not only game mechanic bonuses, you can also throw in setting specific ideas. A type of sword that is specific to a culture or order. Or maybe only given to the bravest of warriors. Did the characters earn it or take of a dead body? And of course how will others react to that? Of course, you can this idea for magic items but I’m talking about mundane items on this post.
Not every item needs to be special but throwing in a few can add just we bit of spice into the campaign.
It’s been a while since I posted any magic items so here’s a couple that popped in my current 5E campaign. I did do a little retooling here to make them a little more old school friendly.
Death Adder: +1 Khopesh does +1d6 Poison damage. Once per day the wielder gains the following: +10 Ft movement, Movement does not cause Attacks of Opportunity.
The Ring of the Vampiric Viper: Three times per day the wielder may cast Vampiric Touch but they must succeed on a Save versus Magic or the effect is reversed (hurting the wielder and healing the target).
There you go enjoy!
Roll Dice. Kill Monsters. Take Their Stuff. And Have Fun.
I was thinking again about magic weapons and armor the other day. Like many I want these items to be more than just a +1 or whatever. I also was thinking about in most of the wondrous tales that we’ve read over the over the years that the characters get a magic item and keep it. Unlike most RPG characters who constantly upgrading to items with more bonuses. Or in even more extreme circumstances, they may be carrying around a golf bag full of magic swords to have just the right weapon for whatever monster they may be facing at the time.
I know things like this have put forth before but there’s so much gaming junk bouncing around my head that I can’t remember where exactly. With that being said, here’s a couple of ideas. These ideas are based around just the base bonus for a particular item, not any additional special abilities.
A really quick method. For this I’m starting with the assumption that these magic items were tailor made for someone besides the player character and designed to be optimized for the original bearer. Additionally, magical power is primarily determined a character’s mental ability scores (Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma) and not their physical scores (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution). So a magic item doesn’t have it’s own bonus but could have a maximum possible bonus. The bonus is determined by one of the ability score modifiers when the item is made. A mace originally made for a High Priest would probably use Wisdom. A dagger made for a Wizard, probably Intelligence. A short sword made for a wily thief, probably Charisma. Say later that some other character comes into possession of the item, then it would go off that character’s modifier. What if a character has penalty? I’m also assuming that each item has a little bit of sentience. It doesn’t like that character and the item in essence becomes cursed while in that character’s possession.
This is easy but if a character is average in their non-class ability scores then they are pretty much screwed. But it’s an interesting idea.
The more involved way. For this method, you keep track of XP for the items and its “level” becomes its bonus. I suggest using the Magic-User XP progression tables since those are the highest. So how do these items gain XP? Well, first the bearer may sacrifice/give a portion of their XP to the item. Magic weapons gain XP for killing things. If the weapon lands the deathblow on a monster then it gains XP based on the HD of the monster similar to the way a character would. For armor, it’s a little different. Whenever an attack from a monster reduces the bearer to 1/4 of their HP or less then the item gains XP based on the HD of the attacking monster if the wearer survives the encounter.
I know this is a little rough around the edges. I just may have to polish it up later on,
The party in my game just finished up fighting a bunch of dragon cultists and I wanted something to make those 1 HD cultists a bit more of challenge to the party. So I came up with the Potion of Dragon Fury.
Duration: 1d4 Turns or until Breath Weapon used (see below).
+2 To-Hit and Damage in melee combat.
The drinker of the potion my used a “breath weapon” doing 3d6 damage. Save for half and this ends the effects of the potion. The potion is “color coded” to match the chromatic dragons for the breath weapon.
Black, Acid, 40 foot line.
Blue, Lightning, 40 foot line.
Green, Poison, 30 foot cone.
Red, Fire, 30 foot cone.
White, 30 foot cone.
Unfortunate, side effect: If the potion is still in effect and the drinker is killed (or reduced 0 HP depending on the rules you are using) then then drinker explodes doing 2d6 damage in a 10 foot radius (type of damage as per the color). Save for half.
It was a real surprise to the PC’s the first time a cultist blew up. And they didn’t learn the next time they faced those guys.
Roll dice, kill monsters, take their stuff, and have fun.
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One of the characters in the Labyrinth Lord game made a bad wish. That happens in old-school games. To get himself out of the mess, he made a pact with a demon lord. Part of the pact is that he a nasty sword. Sure it gave him some neat stuff but it also let’s the demon lord keep tabs on the character. So here’s a slightly edited version of that sword for your game.
The Sword of the Damned
+2 Long Sword with the following extra powers.
When the character strikes the death blow to a living target, the sword draws the life force of the target into it. The sword gains a number of charges equal to the HD of the target. Here’s how the charges are used.
Heal Wielder: The character must use this power immediately after striking the death blow. The wielder heals 2 HP/HD of the victim.
Hide Alignment: 1 Charge. The alignment of the sword and wielder are hidden from detection for a day. Note: The sword automatically uses this power every day. The wielder cannot stop the sword from doing this.
Invisibility: 3 Charges. The wielder become invisible as per the spell.
Poison Blade: 6 Charges. The sword is coated with a vile demonic poison for one round. If the wielder hits a target then the target must Save or Die.
The only other addition from my game is that sword has the spirit of an imp trapped inside it. While it doesn’t follow the normal rules for intelligent swords, the imp does have its own personality and some knowledge of fiends. The little guy is more than happy to get the PC into trouble.
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